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Switch to Forum Live View Do you believe in God and Christ?
3 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2011 - 12:33PM #1
Theo
Posts: 4,689

As a Oneness Pentecostal I did believe in God and Christ - I just could not figure out why the Bible spoke of Them that way, when Jesus is God?

I believed that God sent His only Son into the world, I just could not understand why my preacher said - no God did not send His Son, He robed Himself in flesh and came to earth Himself.

After years of trying to figure out Oneness double speak, I just started believing what the Bible says about God, about Jesus, and about the Holy Spirit, and I soon discovered that I was believing in the doctrine of the Trinity.

Can you use plural and singular pronouns in reference to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? As a Bible reading Christian, I read about US, THEM, and the Father who sent the Son, and the Son who sent the Holy Spirit - and as a Trinitarian these things cause me no problem. But as a former Oneness believer, they just caused ??????????????????????????????? to appear in my mind. So while I believed in God and Christ - I did not understand why or how - now I do.

~ Theophilus

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3 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2011 - 7:18PM #2
Theo
Posts: 4,689

I would like to invite anyone interested to participate in this thread. The opening post was meant as a tease to get Oneness Christians to either come forward with similar concerns and questions about what their Churches teach, or to get oneness apologists to explain how they can believe in God and Christ, while believing that Christ is God - at the same time. As a Trinitian, I believe in God and Christ, and I believe that Christ is God - at the same time... but my explanation as to how that can be is far different and easier to understand than how Oneness folks believe.


~ Theophilus

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3 years ago  ::  Feb 23, 2012 - 1:13AM #3
wayneonegod
Posts: 2

I'm thinking the key to understanding this according to the Apostle's doctrine is not properly understand the dual nature of Christ.  He was both God, and the Son of God.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 08, 2012 - 11:55PM #4
Theo
Posts: 4,689

But how can Jesus be both God, and the Son of God at the same time, or at different times for that matter?


The Son of God died on the Cross - so did God die?


Was the Son of God just a body with God inside? Or did Jesus have His own personality distinct from that of God the Father?


Was Jesus His own Father?


As a Trinitarian, all these questions have reasonable logical answers. As a Oneness Pentecostal, I could have written a book trying to explain these apparent problems.


~ Theophilus

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2 years ago  ::  Nov 14, 2012 - 10:32AM #5
OneGodApostolic
Posts: 158

Hi Theo:


First checking to see if you are still around before I start answering questions.  Smile


If you are, what is your first question about Oneness?


 


OGA


 

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2 years ago  ::  Nov 17, 2012 - 9:04PM #6
Theo
Posts: 4,689

Yep. I still drop by now and then to see if anyone has something to say. 


I have no real questions about Oneness theology, I understand it very well - I just do not believe in it.


~ Theophilus

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2 years ago  ::  Nov 17, 2012 - 9:52PM #7
OneGodApostolic
Posts: 158

Nov 17, 2012 -- 9:04PM, Theo wrote:


Yep. I still drop by now and then to see if anyone has something to say. 


I have no realy questions about Oneness theology, I understand it very well - I just do not believe in it.


~ Theophilus




Your statements against (accusations, more precisely) Oneness theology on other threads leads me to believe you either never knew the doctrine, were taught incorrectly or you've forgotten the truth behind it.  Based on what I believe, which I classify as Oneness, your accusations would be akin to me accusing you of believing in 3 gods.  Do you? 

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2 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2012 - 1:52AM #8
Theo
Posts: 4,689


No, that is what Mormons believe. 


No Trinitarian believes in three gods, we believe in One God in three Persons. This does not mean that the One God is IN each of the three Persons, it means that each Person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are God as to Their nature. And thus there is a unity of nature and a diversity of Person. 


For example... John 1:1 > In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


Trinitarians understand this passage straightforward...


In the beginning - refers to the beginning of creation as far as human beings are concerned.


was the Word - we understand the Word to be the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Word, (or Ho Logos) is a name for the One who was born king of the Jews. And to nail this down... St. John also wrote... Rev 19:13 > He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.


Trinitarians do not use Greek philosophy to preload the meaning of Logos, as do some Modalists, we do not believe St. John, being born and raised a Jew, would have either. Rather, we believe St. John used Logos as a name for Jesus, that ties Him directly to the Word of the LORD, as revealed in the Old Testament. Thus we believe that Jesus was the Word of the LORD who spoke through the prophets of old and whose powers framed the heavens and the earth.


And the Word was with God - we understand this to mean that Jesus was with His Father, i.e. God the Father. The Greek for this phrase is "kia ho logos en pros ton Theon" which means, and the Word was towards the God... or facing God... hence the meaning "with."


Thus we have the Father and the Son together in the beginning. No origin is implied for either the Father or the Son, and therefore we believe They always existed. God has never been without His Word, and the Word has never been without God.  


And then we have the last clause... and the Word was God. Many people when they read this clause see an apparent contradiction, and they ask, how can the Word be the God He was with? And the answer is - He can not. The Word cannot be the God He was with. Trinitarians basically believe it means that the Word was God the Son.


When we diagram John 1:1... the time key is the beginning. The subject of the sentence is the Word, and the object the Word is in relationship with is God. But when we come to the last clause, and the Word was God... we find that God is not the object, but is describing the Word, and thus it is a descriptive predicate. So the verse is not saying that the Word was the God He was with, it is saying that the Word is God. In other words, God is being used generically... to describe what the Word is.


To better illustrate my point... lets replace the characters in John 1:1 with Adam and Eve. In the beginning was the Woman, and the Woman was with the Man, and the Woman was Man.    


You see, my sentence is not saying that the woman was a Man, or that she was the Man she was with; it is saying that the Woman was Man... as in Mankind. And this is precisely the same way Theon was used in the last clause of John 1:1.


So to paraphrase the passage, it means... Before the Universe existed, the Word existed together with God the Father, and the Word was Divine by nature.


And so it is, that we also believe the Holy Spirit is God, i.e. God by nature. The Father is God proper, and the Son and Holy Spirit both proceed forth from Him, and are God by nature. And this is why the Creed of the Church says that Jesus is, Light from Light, true God from true God...


Tell me if you understand this... When I say I believe Jesus Christ is God, to your mind that means... Jesus is God the Father. But that is not what I mean at all, my meaning is that Jesus Christ is God the Son; not the Father, not the Spirit, but God nonetheless, God the Son.


~ Theophilus

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2 years ago  ::  Nov 19, 2012 - 9:16AM #9
OneGodApostolic
Posts: 158

Nov 18, 2012 -- 1:52AM, Theo wrote:

No Trinitarian believes in three gods, we believe in One God in three Persons. This does not mean that the One God is IN each of the three Persons, it means that each Person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are God as to Their nature. And thus there is a unity of nature and a diversity of Person. 


No one claims to believe in something that sounds preposterous.  However, it is not what we say we believe that matters.  It is what is in our heart that then leads us to worship (idolize) which then dictates our true beliefs.  And only God will be the Judge as to whether we worship one, two, three, a thousand, etc.


 


...we believe in One God in three Persons. This does not mean that the One God is IN each of the three Persons, it means that each Person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are God as to Their nature. And thus there is a unity of nature and a diversity of Person. 


I thought in another post you said that trinitarians pretty much equate One God in 3 persons with 3 persons in One God? 


And, yet again, if the One God is IN each of the three Persons, what does that make God?  It really leaves "God" being just a concept and non-personal, like an inanimate object that is IN each of the persons deifying them.  Sorry, but I see no other option, because "God" can't be personal AND be in 3 persons.  If He is, then you have 4 persons once He is in the other 3.


 


For example... John 1:1 > In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


Trinitarians understand this passage straightforward...


In the beginning - refers to the beginning of creation as far as human beings are concerned.


I believe the word refers to the absolute beginning, not the beginning of human creation.  There was much more before that, in particular the angels.  Arche here identifies a time (for lack of a better term) when the Word began to be expressed, ie: when the One God began to create.  This creation, being not God, necessitated that God define Himself - as a matter of consequence and on purpose.  That is, when God created something, it was obviously not Him.  Thus, as a consequence that created thing was, by definition, not God.  He also purposefully defined Himself - eg: "I am holy", "I am sovereign", "I am eternal".  He did the defining by His Word.  These "definitions" created a distinction between God in transcendence (the One without definitions, the incomprehensible One, the Absolute [in all attributes] One, the Father) and God manifested (God defined, made known, manifested).  The distinction is not in Persons, but in God in transendence and God in manifestation. 


 


was the Word - we understand the Word to be the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Word, (or Ho Logos) is a name for the One who was born king of the Jews. And to nail this down... St. John also wrote... Rev 19:13 > He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.


I'm in total agreement here.  PRE-incarnate Jesus being the key terms.


 


And the Word was with God - we understand this to mean that Jesus was with His Father, i.e. God the Father. The Greek for this phrase is "kia ho logos en pros ton Theon" which means, and the Word was towards the God... or facing God... hence the meaning "with."


This interpretation can only come from a trinitarian perspective and only once the trinity doctrine was born.  I'm not sure you do, but some trinitarians argue that the doctrine was progressively revealed since there are zero references to 3 persons in the OT.  They say that the trinity was hidden until the "new testament".  I totally disagree, of course.


So, coming from a perspective of absolute oneness of and in God, this phrase takes on different meaning.  The true meaning IMO.  And it starts with an absolute One, not three.  When you start with three, your interpretation makes sense.  But, when you start with One, as I prefer to do because I believe it is biblical, your interpretation makes no sense. 


We must search for another interpretation as Oneness adherents, because we start with One, not three.  And the interpretation is that God's Word, His self-definition/His plan/the "part" of Him that could be expressed and comprehended by His creation, was with Him as my word is with me.  It is not a separate person in me.  It is not even a separate part of my consciousness.  It has no ability to separate itself from me.  Such is the Word of God.  It is God, the One God.  It is this One God expressing Himself in terms His creation can comprehend.  It sets God apart from creation, an act absolutely necessary due to God choosing to create.


 


God has never been without His Word, and the Word has never been without God.


I totally agree.  But, the Word has not always been expressed (ie: there was a time when God was all there was; there was nothing but Him: One Spirit), and, therefore, there was not always a distinction between God in transcendence and God in manifestation.  The Word created the distinction.  The Word was made flesh.  The distinction came into time and space.  That Person was and is called the Son of God. 


 


And then we have the last clause... and the Word was God. Many people when they read this clause see an apparent contradiction, and they ask, how can the Word be the God He was with? And the answer is - He can not. The Word cannot be the God He was with. Trinitarians basically believe it means that the Word was God the Son.  


When we diagram John 1:1... the time key is the beginning. The subject of the sentence is the Word, and the object the Word is in relationship with is God. But when we come to the last clause, and the Word was God... we find that God is not the object, but is describing the Word, and thus it is a descriptive predicate. So the verse is not saying that the Word was the God He was with, it is saying that the Word is God. In other words, God is being used generically... to describe what the Word is.


To better illustrate my point... lets replace the characters in John 1:1 with Adam and Eve. In the beginning was the Woman, and the Woman was with the Man, and the Woman was Man.    


You see, my sentence is not saying that the woman was a Man, or that she was the Man she was with; it is saying that the Woman was Man... as in Mankind. And this is precisely the same way Theon was used in the last clause of John 1:1.


So to paraphrase the passage, it means... Before the Universe existed, the Word existed together with God the Father, and the Word was Divine by nature.


I have a problem changing definitions in the middle of verses.  God cannot mean "Father" in one phrase and "Son" in the next.  He is either always God or He is not.  I will not conveniently alter terms to fit my theology. 


 


Tell me if you understand this... When I say I believe Jesus Christ is God, to your mind that means... Jesus is God the Father. But that is not what I mean at all, my meaning is that Jesus Christ is God the Son; not the Father, not the Spirit, but God nonetheless, God the Son.


I understand your terms.  But, you continue to show that you don't understand mine, which is Oneness theology.  Your big error here is not identifying Jesus Christ as God the Father manifested in the flesh.  That bolded part is of HUGE importance.  Did you not get that when you were in this truth?  Jesus Christ is the manifestation of the One God of eternity - be He called Father, Spirit, Healer, Redeemer, Yahweh, Jehovah, Emmanuel, etc - in the flesh of humanity.  By identity, He is the Father, yes.  But, the Father only identifies/defines God as to His existence in a realm incomprehensible to creation.  No man knows the Father unless the Son chooses to reveal Him to him.  That is, no man can know the Deity (God) unless that Diety (God) manifested in humanity reveals Him to you.  Man cannot comprehend Deity.  UNLESS, Deity manifests Himself.   It (He) did that in Jesus Christ.  He did that so that His creation might know Him.  The Father became flesh so that you might know Him.

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2 years ago  ::  Nov 22, 2012 - 3:10AM #10
Theo
Posts: 4,689

So, tell me if this works for you - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the Father, and the Word was the Father. ???


This is what I think you're saying, but there is more to it than that.


I once asked a UPC minister friend of mine to translate John 1:1 for me. And this is what he wrote... "In beginnings was the Word, and the Word pertained to God, and God was the Word." But in addition he added the following explanation - > God is the Origin of all things, the Logos was the rational utterance of God, who thereby defined Himself in relation to His creation.


My friend was able to translate the Greek literally and accurately, but in order to communicate what he believed it meant, he had to completely depart from the literal sentence structure and opt for a highly nebulous metaphysical explanation paralleling Platonic philosophy.


When you're married to a belief system it becomes very hard to critique it and evaluate your options. My friend earned his degree in philosophy, and so he was aware that he was leaning heavily on platonic thought for his interpretation of the Logos... but still he persisted.


Strange thing for me was... the Oneness College I went to accused Trinitarians of using Platonic thought in their understanding of Logos-Christology. Indeed, their whole case was based upon how bad it was for Christians to "cross streams" with paganism. And of course, at the time I was believing and accepting of everything they said, not knowing any better myself.  I have since run into a number of Oneness theologians who openly admit that they rely on Greek philosophy to explain John 1 and to understand the nature of the LOGOS.


After my Bible college days I spent years reading the Church fathers, and discovered that they were right, the early Church did read the NT through Greek Philosophy colored glasses. Some of them even believed Plato was saved because he accurately conceptualized the nature of God and His Logos. And so it was that I spent time boning up on Greek philosophy too... I wanted to see how it impacted the Christological debates and Logos-Christology in particular.


But instead if finding the Trinitarian Achilles' heel, as it were, here is what I learned... Trinitarians do not base their understanding of God the Son on Greek concepts of the Logos. They base their understanding of the Logos on the Word of the Lord - as found all through the Old Testament. It was Arius and his many followers who were the major proponents of Logos-Christology and they gladly borrowed from Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics to make their case... moreover, so did Pope Sebelius.


The explanation you gave in your last post, was parallel to platonic thought about God and the Logos. My UPC friend's paraphrase of John 1:1 is completely loaded with Greek concepts... and so it was that 20 years ago, I began looking for a more Biblical understanding of the Word. I base my understanding of the Word, not on what Plato came up with to explain the word Logos, but upon OT passages about the Word of the Lord. The Word, in the Greek Version of the OT, is also translated as Ho Logos = the Word. And so I studied about the Word of YHVH in the OT, and tied that to John 1:1, and thereby came up with the understanding that the Word of YHVH is God, but not God proper. The Word is eternal, the Word was with God in the beginning, and the Word created all things... and all through the OT, the Word speaks as God to and through the prophets. So much so that St. John said, He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him, but to as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God... Amen.


~ Theophilus

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